Sunday, June 17, 2007

Into the Cauldron: Don Orsillo

Meet Don Orsillo, play-by-play announcer for the Boston Red Sox on New England Sports Network. Has an annoying habit of giggling like a nine-year-old girl at analyst Jerry Remy's in-game "jokes." Nickname: The Thumb.

Despite the fact that he's a well-paid professional broadcaster with a dream job, Orsillo loves joking about how some of the opposing players' names are difficult to pronounce. This first happened a couple of weeks ago during a game against the Atlanta Braves. He basically refused to make any effort to correctly pronounce the name of the Braves catcher, Jerrod Saltalamacchia. Usually he would just say "Saltamacchia" and then titter with Jerry about how hard that name was to pronounce. At one point he said "It has like five or six words in there." Presumably he meant syllables.

But is it really that hard? Sal-ta-la-mac-chi-a. It's Italian, just like "Orsillo." Come on, Thumb! A paisan!

Then, this past week, the Colorado Rockies come to town. The Rockies catcher: Yorvit Torrealba. At shortstop: Troy Tulowitzki. And in center field: Ryan Spilborghs. You would have thought Orsillo had never operated his larynx before, to hear him stumble over and complain about these names. Are they really that hard, Don? Sound it out. Torrealba = Torre-alba = Joe Torre + Jessica Alba. Easy peasy! Plus, the media guide provides a handy pronunciation guide for each name. Use it.

The half-assed effort to pronounce these names, coupled with the incessant jokey complaining about it, had me mentally dunking Orsillo in a cauldron of molten lead. Is it too much to ask that a broadcaster do his job, practice the tougher names beforehand, and just say the name without any extraneous comment? It's your effing job, Orsillo, to call the game accurately and informatively, period. Leave your effervescent "personality" and "quirky goofiness" and "crypto-xenophobic mispronunciations" out of it.

Into the cauldron with you!

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